House moves highway bill to open talks with Senate

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16: Workers demolish the south side of Mulholland overpass on the 405 freeway during the 53-hour total freeway closure dubbed "Carmageddon" for the resulting massive traffic disruptions expected throughout the region, on July 16, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The bridge is being demolished part of a $1 billion project to add carpool lanes and make other improvements along the 405 freeway from Orange County to the city of San Fernando. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images) David McNew

(AP) WASHINGTON - The House has passed legislation aimed at keeping alive prospects for a long-term transportation plan that would provide highway and transit aid to states this year.

In the short term, the measure temporarily extends the power to spend money on transportation programs. That spending authority is set to expire on June 30, and the measure would extend that by three months.

But the real intent is to pave the way for negotiations with the Senate on a longer-term fix.

House Republican leaders have been unable to pass their own plan. The extension is a switch in tactics, and a signal that they're resigned to using a Senate bill as the basis for potential compromise.

The extension bill, which passed 293-127, also would allow the Keystone XL oil pipeline to proceed.

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